Police Stops, Crime Prevention, and Community Reaction: A Randomized Field Experiment at Violent Crime Hot Spots

Project Summary

Evidence suggests that pedestrian stops may be an effective police tactic when applied to violent crime hot spots. But it is also one of the most controversial tactics that police use. Frequently debated is whether the tactic causes more harm than good, especially in minority and disadvantaged communities. Yet, to our knowledge, there has not been a randomized trial to directly assess the effects of pedestrian stops. The National Police Foundation (NPF) and George Mason University are conducting a randomized control trial with a large police agency to test the idea that, after giving a special unit of officers training in procedural justice and constitutional issues, stops can be conducted in such a way that crime is reduced without alienating the community or antagonizing those persons stopped.



Experimental design: 60 street segments randomly assigned to be patrolled by unit with special training in procedural justice and constitutional issues in stops or to usual patrol practices. Outcomes include crime data, contact surveys, community surveys, officer logs, and body cam records.





Funding & Collaboration

This project is being funded by the National Institute of Justice as a subcontract to George Mason University.


Points of Contact

Rob Davis
Chief Social Scientist
National Police Foundation

Heather Vovak
Senior Research Associate
National Police Foundation

Kalani Johnson
Research Assistant
National Police Foundation



Police stops, proactive policing